A few months ago Eula led us in worship by singing a solo. Ordinarily I am seated in a pulpit chair, but that day I sat in the front pew. The congregation was quiet and engaged until all of a sudden the baptismal curtain just behind Eula began to tremble rather violently.
I had no time to entertain the thought "Is Jesus back?" because I soon saw a furry paw reach out from the side of the curtain.
JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL.
Since I am the pastor, I feel like it's my duty to take care of business when something goes awry. FYI: I am not really an animal person. I serve a congregation of farmers and hunters and they know this about me. Once I was told "Dressing a buck is not your spiritual gift." I am not one with nature in general. LOVE nature from afar. Up close? No.
Anyway, there's a furry paw in front of me and I'm the pastor and I've got to respond to this situation. Raccoon, large rat, possum, chicken (furry ones exist I've learned)--who or whatever you are, Pastor Katie is at the ready.
But before I had time to guess what I'd encounter at our River Jordan the neighborhood cat sauntered (no other way to describe it) out from behind the curtain and onto the baptismal ledge--which had then become a literal catwalk.
I nearly died of hysteria.
I am ill prepared to be serious in such moments, but my better instincts took over. I had a job to do: Get the cat out of the sanctuary without disturbing the special music. Cat was in full view of the entire church and she was strutting as if this was her one shining moment. Who could blame her? Repeat: She was on a CATWALK.
|See baptismal curtain, catwalk, pulpit chairs, and side exit. Photo credit: Elizabeth Liebermann.|
I devised a plan: Stealthily dart behind Eula to retrieve the cat--but oh-so-carefully because I was wearing a dress. There is only so much darting one can achieve in a dress. I am also short and the big pulpit chairs were in my way--so I would need to climb them without bending over and also lovingly coax a cat down from her baptistery catwalk.
All of my studies prepared me for this moment.
My plan mostly worked except the cat did NOT want to leave, so she meowed and tried to scratch me. I open the side door (which is approximately wide enough to accommodate a Barbie), accidentally slammed it, and the congregation thinks I have fallen and can't get up--all while praises to Jesus are sung. Shout out to Eula and Janice (pianist) who sang and played the whole time.
I waited until Eula finished singing to reappear from the Barbie side exit to explain what happened. The congregation erupted in laughter including Eula. When Eula later told her daughter, Jennifer, what happened, Jennifer bought Eula a cat purse. A few weeks later the neighborhood cat was seemingly waiting for her BFF Eula after choir practice and voila we snapped this photo.
|Wonderful Eula pictured with our neighborhood cat and her new purse. Photo credit: Angela Grandstaff.|